Amsterdam weather in January

Amsterdam is beautiful any time of the year, and January is no exception — provided you dress for the occasion.

According to the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI1), January is the coldest month in most of the Netherlands. Along the sea coast February is slightly colder yet, when the water of the North Sea is at its coldest.

snow on prinsengracht, Amsterdam

The Prinsengracht — with the Westertoren — in the snow.

Normal Amsterdam weather in January is like this: the average temperature is 2.7º Celsius (36.68º Fahrenheit). That’s cold, especially when there’s a stiff wind. It’s a rainy month as well.

You can also expect anywhere from five to eight days of snow — which looks wonderful.

Amsterdam Weather forecast ©

More Amsterdam weather (including other months)
Updated January 14, 2017

NOTE: Most days you should count on a wind chill factor or ‘feels like’ temperature of 4-6 degrees lower than those listed.

Sunday (15) Either overcast or quite cloudy with some sunny spells all day — the weather pros contradict eachother. Some also predict an 80% chance of scattered light rain or drizzle showers during the mid through late afternoon, while others say that it will remain dry. That’s Dutch weather for you. At least all agree that it will be quite cold, with the mid-day high hovering around 3X° Celsius (37.4° Fahrenheit).

Monday (16) Clear in the early morning and evening; bright and sunny from about 10 am through 4 or 5 pm. No rain or other wet stuff, either. Of course that comes at a price, with an afternoon high temperature of about 2-3° Celsius (35.6-37.4° Fahrenheit). Subtract 4-5 degrees to arrive at the feels like temperature.

Tuesday (17) Either overcast most of the day, or light clouds and sunny spells from early morning through mid-afternoon. No precipitation. Today’s early-afternoon high hovers around 3° Celsius (37.4° Fahrenheit), along with a wind chill factor 6-7 degrees lower. No precipitation.

Wednesday (18) Light clouds with sunny spells. One weather forecast service promises fulll-on sun from the late morning through the late afternoon — while another says it will be that sunny only from about 3 pm on. Yet another is more pessimistic and will only talk about partial sun. Mid-day temperatures vary wildly from service to service, ranging between -1 – 4° Celsius (30.2-39.2° Fahrenheit). The wind chill factor will have you head for one of Amsterdam’s bruine kroegen.

Thursday (19) Take your pick: some weather professionals see a clear and sunny day, while other will have it overcast — or at least cloudy — all day. No rain at least, but the day starts out at -5° Celsius (23° Fahrenheit) and the afternoon high is just 1° Celsius (33.8° Fahrenheit)

Friday (20) Cloudy or overcast, with an afternoon high temperature of about -1° Celsius (30.2° Fahrenheit). No rain.

Long-term weather forecast: Saturday January 21 through Saturday January 28, 2017 Quite likely a transition to somewhat milder weather, with from time to time some rain. At the same time there’s a small (about 20%) chance that the cold winter weather will persist.

Make sure you bring the right clothes, and plan for a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.

Normal Low and High Temperatures in January
1-10: 0.3 – 5.1° Celsius (32.54 – 41.18° Fahrenheit)
11-20: 0.9 – 5.7° Celsius (33.62 – 42.26° Fahrenheit)
21-30: 0.7 – 5.5° Celsius (33.26 – 41.9° Fahrenheit)

Even in January, lots of tourists visit Amsterdam. Book museums, excursions and activities ahead of time:

Sunshine — but not much

On average there will be 50 hours of sunshine — spread out over the entire month.

That said, while you may see many gray and gloomy days, from time to time there will be several hours worth of blue, cloudless skies. When that happens grab the opportunity to take postcard-perfect photographs of Amsterdam’s sunlit streets and canals.

Since the trees are bare, many canal-side façades that normally are somewhat hidden from view by the foliage are now more easy to see.

Oudezijds Voorburgwal canal

Oudezijds Voorburgwal, with the tower of the Old Church. Note the gables, which are normally hidden by the leaves on the trees.

Mind you, we’re talking averages here. January can be much colder or much milder. January 2007 was so mild that birds, plants and trees were so confused that they acted like it was spring. Conversely, January 2010 turned out to be one of the snowiest in a long time.

January 2014 was very mild, as was the entire year. (In fact, 2014 was the warmest year since the weather service started keeping track three centuries ago).

As always, go with the flow. Plan to see some of Amsterdam’s many museums during inclement weather.

Tip: Films shown in Dutch movie theaters are shown in their original languages — subtitled in Dutch.

What to wear in Amsterdam in January

TIP: In case of snow or ice, road salt is spread on nearly all the streets — certainly at key points such as bridges and crossings.

Protect your shoes with a waterproof spray.

Salt spots can be removed with a cloth and some vinegar.

Warm clothes are a must, and you will want to wear a winter proof/waterproof coat or jacket.

A good, windproof hat is not a luxury and no one will look at you funny if you happen to be wearing earmuffs.

Complete you outfit with a warm scarf and gloves.

Don’t forget warm socks and padded insoles.

As always, dress in layers because restaurants, café’s and homes are well-heated.

That said, you may want to consider wearing long johns or thermal underwear. You’ll thank us when you’re waiting for a bus or tram in the biting cold.

Amsterdam weather facts: January

• Average lows: -0.5° C (31° F)
• Average highs: 4.4° C (40° F)

Sunrise & Sunset
• January 1 – 8:51 a.m. / 4:38 p.m.
• December 31 – 8:24 a.m. / 5:26 p.m.

• Average 72mm (2.8 inches) in 72 hours

The weather during other months

Would you rather visit us during another time of the year? Check the weather page roundup, which includes details about our climate during the other months of the year.

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  1. Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
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This post was last updated: Jan. 14, 2017    

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